CASE STUDY

Iot-Enabled Smart Coffee Dispenser

“Bringing onboard diagnostic tools to the cloud lets operators ensure their devices are capturing revenue. Out of service notifications are now part of the same digital workflow and project management tools as the rest of the business, providing increased accountability and shorter, cheaper problem resolution.”

- Todd Willey, Cloud Architect

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Create a smart coffee dispenser that facilitates messaging, cost savings & analysis

Cirrusmio worked with their client, a global coffee dispenser manufacturer, on developing a “smart” (IoT-enabled) coffee dispenser device. The mission included the following goals:

  • Collect information
  • Manage supply chain
  • Deliver content to the device and to customers
  • Decrease repairs & maintenance

During the Vision Session, Cirrusmio worked one-on-one with the client to identify actionable items for these goals. Since one of the short-term goals was to devise a system for replacing  consumable products (predictive replenishment), collecting service information from devices was an immediate priority (predictive maintenance). This information could then be used to update delivery schedules of consumables and to customized, timely delivery of signage content to the device and to customers.
The larger goal had to do with utilization and capitalization of this information. It needed to be  cross-referenced with POS data to generate patterns for analysis. Eventually, this information could be leveraged for a longer-term goal of decreasing service returns and warranty repairs by predicting failures and improving the machine’s maintenance schedule. The result? A coffee machine that looks after itself.

Cirrusmio Solution

Prior to their work with Cirrusmio, the client made the decision to manufacture the coffee maker with an embedded Android board. These custom android boards are significant because of their RS232 serial ports. The coffee machine required these RS232 serial ports to enable the transmission of log data from the device. Being a pure background Android service, there is no GUI and no interface to interact with. The applications start when the device is turned on or rebooted, and runs in the background to retrieve data on the serial ports.

When the coffee machine sends data over the serial port, the application, as per the specifications provided, manipulates the data and transforms it. It then performs calculations on some of it, and posts the new data to the company’s web services via a REST API.

Devices

Cirrusmio helped develop software for devices designed by our client that consisted of a legacy, “bottom half” control board for dispensing coffee and new Freescale-powered custom “top half” Android board for digital signage and IoT communications with LVDS, networking, serial communication ports, as well as a use level shifter (TTL to Serial) to listen to data streaming from the “bottom half” of the device. Web communications are made possible by WiFi. Signage information and other updates were made modifiable by automating device controls.

Data Collection & Manipulation

As stated, data collection is made possible via the RS232 serial data ports, which parses times-series device log data line by line. Custom data models mapped to coffee device logs take care of operational notifications to the auger (coffee dispenser), water dispenser, and the device’s on-board digital signage.

Messaging

Data was posted to the existing web server via a connection with web service using a REST API. The cloud system processes data and generates notifications to users. This information is  defined by business rules, which can be input  through email, SMS, or in-app. The information is then integrated with third party systems such as Salesforce and warranty repair services. Data is also shared with the customer via digital signage in-store displays.

Conclusion

Through these processes, Cirrusmio was able to deliver a solution to their client that solved their business challenges and allowed them to optimize future operations. They helped create a coffee dispensing device that collects, manages and analyses information which can be used for cost saving and revenue generating decision making.

About Cirrusmio

Cirrusmio is an IoT Professional Services firm comprised of an eclectic group of fun loving hackers passionate about the Internet of Things revolution and the intersection of man, machines and the environment. The company is currently experiencing rapid growth through word-of-mouth referrals and a series of successful connected device projects including smart digital signage for a global manufacturer of digital displays, connected appliances for a global manufacturer of commercial and residential coffee brewing equipment, and a cloud based shop floor machine remote monitoring solution.

Cirrusmio

IoT services and solutions